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Author Topic: Newb needs skillz  (Read 526 times)

SqueasyCheesyPeaz

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Newb needs skillz
« on: October 13, 2017, 12:29:13 AM »

Hi folks,

I'm new to the forum, so 'Hello', and all that.

Despite considering myself relatively tech-y, when it comes to internet connectivity I'm about as useful as a drunken orangutan.  I wondered whether you good people could give me some advice regarding VDSL connectivity...

I've been having intermittent connectivity issues recently with my ADSL, which I think may have something to do with my old Netgear DG834Gv5 router which heats up like crazy. Currently I have ADSL with Uno, but I'm looking to upgrade to VDSL asap.

My goal is to have a stable internet connection that rarely drops out. I'm not too concerned about speed, but there are around 8-10 devices in my household that are connected to wifi. I only have my main PC connected by RJ45 cable. I'm not doing anything crazy download wise. I'm an average Joe user. Netflix, Spotify, youtube, downloads... moderate to heavy internet usage.

I live in a relatively new build apartment complex of around 300 people. But there must be at least 2500+ people connected to the local cabinet. Speeds slow down considerably between 5-8pm and on weekends.

My property is approximately 200m from my cabinet (most likely a Huawei 288 /384HD). I am about 2 miles from my local exchange.

Do you think it's better to buy a modem and a router separately? If so, which ones?

I've noticed that, on this forum in particular, people seem to talk a lot about the ZyXEL VMG8924-B10A, which ironically seems to get one-star reviews elsewhere online. Other sites mention the Huawei HG612 or an ECI modem. Am I shooting in the right direction here? Do I have much choice in terms of modems? The models I've mentioned all seem to be worth about 5 second hand. Does that sound right?

And what about a router? Should I be going for anything in particular? Something with a Broadcom chipset perhaps? Is that even a thing? Why does it even matter?

Would it be preferable to go for a dual band router, or could I simply buy something quite cheap?

And what's 'Bridge Mode' when it's at home? Will this help me? You may as well be showing a dog a card trick.

Anyhoo, any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.
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burakkucat

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 01:47:33 AM »

Welcome to the Kitz forum.  :)

You have come to the right place with your questions . . . but, having just seen the time -- 0145 hours, it's too late for me to make a start in providing some answers.  :sleep:
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burakkucat

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 12:21:53 AM »

Do you think it's better to buy a modem and a router separately?

I am of the opinion that for a G.993.2 (VDSL2) service there are benefits in having a separate modem and router/AP/WAP (Access Point/Wireless Access Point). The biggest benefit of separate devices is that the modem can be sited as close a possible to where the incoming line enters the property, whilst the router can be placed in the most convenient location with regards to providing a reliable wireless signal throughout the property. Obviously there will be a requirement to link the modem and router with CAT5e (or CAT6) Ethernet cable, which would need to be installed as a one-off task. Also there would need to be a mains supply available at both locations.

Along with other members, I would recommend one of the ZyXEL VMGnnn range (of modem/routers) configured as a bridging modem. (Please take a look at the very first post of this thread.)

For the router/AP/WAP I don't really have any particular favourite. Essentially you could use a standard domestic device (perhaps another modem/router, with the modem "turned off"), a domestic "cable router" or at the other extreme, an enterprise grade router with distributed WAPs.

Quote
I've noticed that, on this forum in particular, people seem to talk a lot about the ZyXEL VMG8924-B10A, which ironically seems to get one-star reviews elsewhere online.

I don't have any experience of the VMG8924-B10A, so am unable to comment. As you have noted, other members have made that their first choice device.

Quote
Other sites mention the Huawei HG612 or an ECI modem. Am I shooting in the right direction here? Do I have much choice in terms of modems? The models I've mentioned all seem to be worth about 5 second hand. Does that sound right?

Both the Huawei HG612 and the ECI B-FOCuS /r are now quite old items. Personally I would not touch the ECI B-FOCuS /r but a Huawei HG612 (Version 3B) is always worth having as a standby, in case of emergencies. Unfortunately you will find many available on eBay at ridiculously inflated prices. Especially when the seller states that the device is unlocked. (In bulk, they were probably being manufactured at around 80p per unit and the BT Group purchased them at around 1 per unit.)

Hopefully I have answered some of your questions . . . and will have probably triggered some more yet to come.  ;)

Let's see what other members will now suggest . . .
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gt94sss2

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 01:13:21 AM »

I've been having intermittent connectivity issues recently with my ADSL, which I think may have something to do with my old Netgear DG834Gv5 router which heats up like crazy. Currently I have ADSL with Uno, but I'm looking to upgrade to VDSL asap.

I live in a relatively new build apartment complex of around 300 people. But there must be at least 2500+ people connected to the local cabinet. Speeds slow down considerably between 5-8pm and on weekends.

Welcome to the forum.

1. If you are happy on ADSL, you may find changing your modem will resolve your dropouts. The good news is that VDSL modems support ADSL as well.

2. On your slowdowns during peak periods, I would raise that with Uno - it sounds like something they should be able to help with.

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My property is approximately 200m from my cabinet (most likely a Huawei 288 /384HD). I am about 2 miles from my local exchange.

What speeds does http://www.dslchecker.bt.com say your telephone number is capable of?

Quote
Do you think it's better to buy a modem and a router separately? If so, which ones?

This is really personal preference. Some prefer having a 2 box solution, others a combined modem/router. You could get a combined modem/router and then change to a 2 box solution if you wanted later by getting another router/access point. Given how you describe your network, a combined option with decent built in wifi should probably be fine.

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Would it be preferable to go for a dual band router, or could I simply buy something quite cheap?

I would recommend getting dual band and using that where your equipment supports it to help minimise the effects of interference from others in your appartment block.

Quote
And what's 'Bridge Mode' when it's at home? Will this help me? You may as well be showing a dog a card trick.

Bridge mode is simply the mode you use if you have separate modem/router.
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kitz

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 10:15:06 AM »

Hi

The separate modem v combined unit is a personal choice.   I prefer combined as my NTE is in the PC room and since I only have 2 LAN wired devices (PC & NAS) now I prefer the one box solution compared to the separate modem, separate router & separate network switch which I had to have when I first got FTTC.  So for me, one plug and one unit is much neater.

>> on this forum in particular, people seem to talk a lot about the ZyXEL VMG8924-B10A,

I guess it depends what is most important to you.
We rate them because of their DSL performance.  They tend to give a bit more sync speed and better stability for most lines as it has an internal noise filter and a decent BCM chipset.
I love the Zyxel web GUI which has configurations available are higher standard than most other domestic routers.  It's based on the ZyXEL SBG3300 GUI which is a small business router.
The reason why some may not like it is because there are routers out there that give better wifi performance.   So we are back to the reason why some people go for a 2 box solution by adding a separate router for the wifi, but the BCM based modems for DSL.     

TBF I'm only using a VMG8324 but its range I find is decent enough to give me signal down the bottom of the garden to surf the net.   I do a lot of streaming/IPTV to devices on a different floor and at other side of house without any buffering issues so its a non issue for me.  My need for speed is on the PC which uses LAN...  and also data transfer between PC & NAS so there's no way I'd ever consider using wifi for either.   For the devices such as phone/tablets/smart tv/firestick/NowTV/Echos etc all they need to do is have sufficient wifi bandwidth to stream and Im happy. 

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SqueasyCheesyPeaz

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2017, 04:42:03 PM »

Thanks guys, that's really useful.

I must say, it doesn't sound as if there are many 'modem only' solutions out there. Might that be indicative that modem/router combo's are perfectly adequate? What are the pros and cons of using either solution? Are people finding much better results with a modem only + router only solution?

So strategically, would you agree that once I switch to VDSL I'm probably best trying a good modem/router combo on its own first, and then if I have issues with line quality/stability etc; buy a separate ZyXEL VMG8924-B10A to handle modem duties?

In terms of Bridge mode (treat me like a 5 year old here guys):
  • I need to activate this mode if I chose to use a separate modem and router, correct?
  • Do I need to activate bridge mode on both the modem and router, or just one or the other? How does this work exactly?


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SqueasyCheesyPeaz

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 04:52:46 PM »


What speeds does http://www.dslchecker.bt.com say your telephone number is capable of?


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burakkucat

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2017, 05:32:58 PM »

So strategically, would you agree that once I switch to VDSL I'm probably best trying a good modem/router combo on its own first, and then if I have issues with line quality/stability etc; buy a separate ZyXEL VMG8924-B10A to handle modem duties?

Yes, to the first part of your question and yes -- or a ZyXEL VMG1312-B10A -- to the second part of your question.

Quote
In terms of Bridge mode (treat me like a 5 year old here guys):
  • I need to activate this mode if I chose to use a separate modem and router, correct?
  • Do I need to activate bridge mode on both the modem and router, or just one or the other? How does this work exactly?

Here is a simple way to think about the concept. You have a SSFP (service specific face-plate) installed at your NTE5 (the "master" socket, the point where the Openreach wiring ends and your wiring begins) and into the correct socket (the one for the xDSL service, not the telephone) you have plugged the lead which will be connected to your modem. The modem is still packed in its cardboard box, somewhere safe, at this moment. You have the separate router already installed, ready to do its router things. From the router's EWAN (Ethernet Wide Area Network) port, you have run a CAT5e or CAT6 Ethernet cable to the location where the modem will be installed. Let's assume you hold the cable that is plugged into the SSFP in your left hand and the Ethernet cable from the router in your right hand. The modem, when correctly connected to both of those cables, bridges all that comes & goes along the left-hand cable to all that comes & goes along the right-hand cable. The modem is acting as a data-bridge. Hence "bridge mode".  ;)  It is only the device (a modem/router) which is being configured to act just as a modem that is put into "bridge mode". (It is possible to purchase a device that is just a modem but they are less common at the basic consumer level. They are more common at enterprise level, with a price to match.)
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gt94sss2

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2017, 05:38:10 PM »

So strategically, would you agree that once I switch to VDSL I'm probably best trying a good modem/router combo on its own first, and then if I have issues with line quality/stability etc; buy a separate ZyXEL VMG8924-B10A to handle modem duties?

The 8924 by itself is a decent modem/router combo. If you find you then want a two box solution, then you can just buy another router and use the 8924 in 'bridge mode' so it effectively only acts as a modem.

edit: Looking at your estimated speeds, I would indeed suggest you upgrade to FTTC given the ADSL speeds your line achieves.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 07:01:13 PM by gt94sss2 »
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j0hn

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2017, 06:14:55 PM »

Personally I prefer a 2 box setup. It lets me reboot/tweak/etc the router without dropping the xDSL circuit and upsetting DLM.

If you're thinking about using a ZyXEL device I would suggest...
A ZyXEL VMG8924-B10A for a 1 box solution (good Wi-Fi built in).
A ZyXEL VMG1312-B10A for use as a modem only. It has the same chipset/noise filter as the 8924 but it's considerably cheaper. Poor Wi-Fi for use as a 1 box solution. My 1312 actually syncs higher than my 8924, and I have been able to wall mount it next to the master socket.
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SqueasyCheesyPeaz

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 01:17:10 PM »

Sorry guys, I meant to say ZyXEL VMG1312-B10A, not the 8924.

Can anybody recommend any router/modem combo units? My ISP sent me a list of Openreach Approved VDSL Modem/Routers (MCT), but this list doesn't include anything by Asus, Billion, or TP-Link, all of which seem to be quite popular. Should I be looking for something with a BCM chipset? Are there any particular models people can recommend?

Personally I prefer a 2 box setup. It lets me reboot/tweak/etc the router without dropping the xDSL circuit and upsetting DLM.

What's DLM?

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smf22

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 02:27:04 PM »

Both the ZyXEL VMG1312-B10A (Wireless N) and VMG8924-B10A (Wireless AC) are combination modem/routers and are on the Openreach Approved VDSL Modem/Routers (MCT) list. I use the VMG8924-B10A as a modem and it works very well on my line; certainly far better than the Draytek Vigor130 it replaced. I don't have experience of it as a router as I use a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter in a two box setup for the same reason as j0hn, but it looks to be a perfectly capable router. Also with the ZyXel devices you get access to the command line making it easier to monitor and manage than products from some other vendors.

What's DLM?

See the Kitz page Dynamic Line Management (DLM) System for the details.
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LordSven

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2017, 09:05:54 PM »

Welcome! I have found the Zyxel VMG8924-B10A to be a very stable combination modem/router. It gave me a 17Mb/s improvement on my BT HomeHub 5A, at least 11Mb/s improvement over the Huawei HG612 modem combined with a Fritz!Box AVM7390 or AVM7490 as router only and is much more stable with vastly fewer errors (for reliable connection) on my relatively long (between 550m and 600m from the street cabinet) and noisy line than the Fritz!Box AVM7390 or AVM7490 as combination modem/router. I have had problems connecting the VMG8924-B10A to IPv6 but no problem with 'traditional' IPv4. Other people seem to connect to IPv6 with no issues. The wireless is perfectly adequate for my 3 bedroom house. I bought mine used for less than 55 on an infamous auction site including delivery.
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SqueasyCheesyPeaz

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Re: Newb needs skillz
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2017, 03:33:07 PM »

Thanks guys. I now have some chipset related questions...

  • What is the difference between the VMG1312-B10A and the VMG1312-B10B? - Does the B model have the same BCM 63168 chipset as the A? How do they differ?
  • Staying on the ZyXEL's - Does the the Zyxel VMG8924-B10A have the same BCM 63168 chipset as the VMG1312-B10A?
  • Hypothetically lets say I have a separate modem and router. Should both devices have the same type of chipset for maximum 'compatibility' or is the type of chipset just a matter for the modem? I.e. Would there be any advantage in having a modem AND a router with a Broadcom 63168 chipset, for example?
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